EDMONTON - He's the defensive player of the week, but Chris Thompson may as well have his sights set on the CFL's defensive player of the year.
The Edmonton Eskimos defensive halfback earned the league's top defensive honours following a two-interception, two-tackle performance against the B.C. Lions in last Friday's victory 1/3 helping the Eskimos to their first win of the season.
"It's a great honour, but we got the win, that's the most important. Going 0-5, that wasn't an option. Those picks, that was just a bonus," said Thompson, a former Hamilton Tiger-cat who last won the weekly award on Aug. 7, 2008, in a 45-21 victory over the Toronto Argonauts, where he had three tackles and an interception.
He finished that season by leading the CFL with nine interceptions, but was only able to follow up with a single interception 1/3 which he returned for a touchdown 1/3 last year, before returning to Edmonton where his CFL career began in 2007.
"After the '08 season, last year I didn't really get a lot of work after I had those nine picks. Teams didn't really come my way," Thompson said. "This year, I've been at the right place at the right time and I made the most of my opportunities and that's the most that I can ask for right now."
Getting back to where it all began has so far been a good move for Thompson, who switched from cornerback to defensive halfback in Hamilton.
"I didn't have a real good start and got traded to Hamilton and made the best over there, so I'm happy to be back now," said Thompson. "I don't think they really knew what my full potential was."
Looking back, the move to a different team and a different position was a blessing in disguise.
"Definitely," said Thompson, who made an interception at the field cornerback spot as well as one from his regular spot at defensive half.
His fourth and fifth picks of the season place him firmly ahead of the pack, followed by eight players tied for second with a pair of interceptions apiece.
"Five picks in five games, I'm off to a good start," Thompson said. "I've got 13 games left, but winning's the most important."
The single-season record is 15 interceptions, set by Hamilton's Al Brenner in 1972.
"I'm not even sure what the record is, I don't want to know what it is," Thompson said. "Hopefully I break it, we'll see."
IN AND OUT: DT Dario Romero returned to practice after resting Monday, while DE Kai Ellis took a turn to rest Tuesday. KR Tristan Jackson, who is currently on the nine-game injury list (shoulder), turned his ankle in practice Monday and sat out Tueday's practice with an air cast.
RETRO PRICES: From 6 a.m..-10 a.m., the Eskimos and outlets of Corus Radio will be at the Mayfield, Stadium and Calgary Trail Save On Foods locations broadcasting live and selling $10 tickets for Friday's game against the Toronto Argonauts. The 8 p.m. start will kickoff the retro tilt, which will feature jerseys from the 1975 season to go along with the 1975 ticket prices.